The multi-billion-dollar-a-year advertising industry works by creating dissatisfaction with what we have / look like / are, in order to motivate us to buy their advertised products. Ads badger us incessantly, and effectively, making us buy a lot of stuff we don't need.

How many times has something caught your attention and the thought flashed through your mind - 'wouldn't that be fun to have?' Quickly common sense usually takes over - 'foolishness, I don't need it, and besides, I can't afford it!' But then YOU, yourself, often start running alluring ads to yourself about how your life now is so incomplete, and how wonderful it will be if only you could only have this wonderful, desirable, exquisite thing. Such self-directed ads could be for absolutely anything - extra food, extra sleep, luxury items, travel, sex etc. The more you badger yourself with "must have" messages, the more irresistible the item / activity / person becomes.

Of course you can also badger yourself with "must avoid" messages, eventually demonizing the target item / activity / person. A typical example is some minimal discomfort eg an itch, which, with constant "must avoid" messages can very quickly escalate into something that is "unbearable."

Like the advertising industry, the inner voices flooding us with "must have" & "must avoid" ads are about short-term gain. Completely ignored are our overall well-being, what we hold meaningful, our values & long-term best interests. Short-term gain is usually followed by long-term pain. Interestingly, the cause of avoidable ('discretionary') suffering, according to Buddhist psychology, is craving ("must have"), aversion ("must avoid"), and ignorance.

We can prevent a great deal of unnecessary suffering by carefully observing how craving & aversion operate in our daily life, recognizing their arising early (since 'ads' become progressively more influential with repetition), and shifting attention from these towards matters that will actually benefit us.

Craving & aversion arise from ignorance of who we really are, & what's actually going on.

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Arte Spirito

Arte Spirito

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